Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cognitive Dissonance Alert

Manchester Evening News :

Officers have received 23 calls from concerned parents since the first incident was reported less than a fortnight ago. The abduction bids have all taken place in Stockport. Most of the remaining calls were to report men acting suspiciously – such as driving slowly down streets where children were playing.

I could have sworn that driving slowly in streets where children are playing is what you're supposed to do.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Night Music

With this audio quality (from a 20 year old cassette), no wonder they call him Scratch.

Somewhat more melodic but very very sad - I've only just found out that 80's lovers rock queen Jean Adebambo killed herself last year. What a great pity. Gorgeous music, gorgeous voice.

A Diversity Tax ?

This blog, way back.

One of my hobby-horses is the question of culture. For some reason UK liberals believe (or claim to) that, no matter whence you hail, the moment you set foot on UK soil the mystic properties of Old Albion (or Cymru or Alba or Erin) flow up through your shoes and make you just like the natives - in terms of your propensity to evil. But in the case of your propensity to good, all the good bits of your culture magically stay, enriching the poor natives by the power of diversity.
My car insurance, which includes a 20 year old and an 18 year old, has gone up by about 25% this year.

The cost of car insurance has grown at its fastest rate, in large part due to a rise in fraudulent claims, according to data released today.

Cases of insurance fraud have been on the rise since the recession began. Figures to be published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) later this week are expected to show that these are still on the rise. As it is, the ABI puts the total cost to the industry of undetected general insurance claims fraud at £2bn per year. This adds around £40 a year to the insurance premiums paid by all policyholders.

The most common and costly form of general insurance claims fraud is "opportunistic retail fraud". This is where individuals exaggerate or inflate genuine claims to increase the value of a payout.

But there has also been a big rise in organised fraud, where criminal gangs work to systematically defraud insurers. The most common way of doing this is via a "cash for crash" scam, where criminals stage accidents, typically at roundabouts, by slamming their brakes on suddenly causing the car behind to crash into them. The fraudsters then claim for the cost of repair or replacement of their vehicle on the innocent driver's insurance. At a high court case in February, an organised ring of "cash for crash" insurance fraudsters was ordered to pay its victims almost £400,000 after seven insurers joined together and successfully sued the fraud ring.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau estimated in 2008 (pdf) that "Such payouts are potentially costing the average policy holder an extra 5 percent on their premium every year."

I wonder if it's gone up since then ?

I've been looking at "cash for crash" since 2006.

The "cash for crash" number one hotspot was Blackburn, where there have been 1,710 incidents over the last seven years, according to figures from the recently-formed Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).

The next worst locations were Bradford (1,669 incidents), Birmingham (1,510), Oldham (1,034), Bolton (986) and Manchester (979). The scam was first spotted in North West of England but had now spread to London and the South East, said the IFB.
In May 2010 Direct Line released the Top Ten cfc hotspots by physical location :

  1. Centenary Way, Trafford Park, Manchester
  2. Haslingden roundabout, Junction 5, M65
  3. Scotland Road roundabout, Junction 13, M65
  4. Gannow Top roundabout, Cavalry Way, Burnley
  5. Eden Point roundabout, A34, Stockport
  6. Denham roundabout, M40
  7. Jarman Park, A414, Hemel Hempstead
  8. Parkway Uxbridge Road A312 / A4020
  9. Port Way / Strand Road junction , Preston
  10. Junction 24 roundabout, M25
Still heavily biased towards Preston/Blackburn/Burnley. I see Southall, Slough (Denham - or is that an unwarranted assumption and it's people from Gerrards Cross ?) and Luton in the mix, too.

I trust when our rulers calculate "the enormous economic benefits of immigration" (pdf) that such factors are being taken into account.

Being able to count on a basic standard of honesty is a great economic good - because it means there's no requirement for a huge compliance overhead (to be fair, honesty among the Native Brits has also declined rapidly over the last 50 years, if the crime figures are anything to go by). The same applies even more in voting, and in spades when it comes to the administration of justice :

A Crown Prosecutor and barrister has admitted dropping cases for cash.
I am not one who is easily shocked, but this is something that I would have found incredible at first sight. This man has betrayed so much that our society values that I can only expect the judge to hand down the most severe sentence when the time comes.
None so blind as those that will not see, eh ?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Journolist - a Real Liberal Conspiracy

via Ed West at the Telegraph, this story :

In the heat of the presidential campaign, videos surfaced of Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, angrily denouncing whites, the U.S. government and America itself. Obama had once bragged of his closeness to Wright. Now the black nationalist preacher’s rhetoric was threatening to torpedo Obama’s campaign.

The crisis reached a howling pitch in mid-April, 2008, at an ABC News debate moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. Gibson asked Obama why it had taken him so long – nearly a year since Wright’s remarks became public – to dissociate himself from them. Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”

Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists.
And they didn't like it - so did something about it.

According to records obtained by The Daily Caller, at several points during the 2008 presidential campaign a group of liberal journalists took radical steps to protect their favored candidate. Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.

In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — call them racists.”

Michael Tomasky, a writer for the Guardian [my emphasis] also tried to rally his fellow members of Journolist: “Listen folks–in my opinion, we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have. This isn’t about defending Obama. This is about how the [mainstream media] kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people.”
Calling a political opponent a racist ? Hmm, worth a try. Not been done before.

"Discourse that serves the people". Very Soviet. But as Andrew Breitbart puts it : 'the reporters at Pravda weren't such insufferable ******* !"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Dodgy Decision


According to the complaint filed by the woman, the two met in a Jerusalem street in 2008 and had sex that day. When she discovered he was not Jewish, but an Arab, she went to the police. Kashur was arrested and charged with rape and indecent assault, but the charges were later replaced by a different charge of "rape by deception".

Hmm. I thought it was a truism that a young man will say pretty much anything to get a woman into bed.

The inventive and resourceful Syrian Fadi Sbano was acquitted of rape by a UK court for a lot more than that. Not sure he'd have got that verdict in Israel.


In the verdict, deputy president of the Jerusalem district court Tzvi Segal, along with fellow judges Moshe Drori and Yoram Noam, wrote that although this wasn't "a classical rape by force," and the sex was consensual, the consent itself was obtained through deception and under false pretenses. "If she hadn't thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated," the judges wrote.

I see. They'd been together for months before he had his wicked way ?

According to the indictment, Kashur met the complainant in September 2008 in downtown Jerusalem.. the couple then went to a nearby building and had sex, after which Kashur left the building without waiting for the woman to get dressed.
Hmm. Not a gentleman, then. But didn't exactly take a lot of persuasion, did she ?

"The court is obliged to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth-tongued criminals who can deceive innocent victims at an unbearable price - the sanctity of their bodies and souls," Segal wrote.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Noah Fence

At the beginning of the meeting, David Cameron said "this is a national issue of the highest importance; it has both demographic and humanitarian aspects. In effect, we are the only western country that lacks a clear immigration policy. Today, we will start the discussion in order to correct this."

The prime minister added that the new law, drafted by Minister of Justice Ken Clarke, "should conform to our national interests, first and foremost providing security and ensuring the British and democratic character of the country."

"Illegal immigrants are endangering Britain's existence," he said. "The south of England has fallen under siege."

Foreign Minister William Hague and Home Secretary Theresa May discussed the possibility of sending some of the thousands of illegal African immigrants in London to African and European countries that are willing to accept them. Hague said he is talking to his European counterparts, but that it is unlikely that such a plan will succeed.

Gosh ... can this be real ?

The government held a special session this morning on various issues connected with illegal immigration.

What ... where am I ? Oh no ! It was all a dream !

"The government held a special session this morning on various issues connected with illegal immigration. Disappointment, directed mainly at Defense Minister Ehud Barak, was expressed at the fact that construction of the fence between Egypt and Israel would begin only in November.

The purpose of the fence is to block African infiltrators making their way into Israel via the Sinai Desert. Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch says there are some 150,000 illegal infiltrators, only 16 percent of whom are registered and known to the authorities."

Good fences make good neighbours, said Robert Frost's neigbour, and India seems to agree. They finished their fence across Kashmir ages ago.

The barrier itself consists of double-row of fencing and concertina wire eight to twelve feet (2.4–3.7 m) in height, and is electrified and connected to a network of motion sensors, thermal imaging devices and alarms in stretches where power supply is available. The small stretch of land between the rows of fencing is mined.

The Bangladesh barrier is proceeding apace :

The barrier is just under three meters high with the aim to stop infiltration of terrorists, prevent smuggling, and to prevent large scale illegal immigration from Bangladesh into neighbouring states. Under the former government of Khaleda Zia and the Islamic extremist Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh troops clashed with the Indian Border Security Force in an attempt to prevent fencing. Some indigenous Assamese fear that they, as a people, will be reduced to a minority if unabated infiltration continues.

Poor Assamese. Imagine how English people would feel if that happened to them.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"We Don't Need No Piece of Paper From The City Hall"

Raoul Moate's brother (by a different father) speaks. Nature, nurture, or what ? He's a tax officer with a Masters degree.

The brothers had different fathers, but neither was told who they were. Raoul made it very clear ('I haven't got a Dad' - LT), in his last stand in Rothbury, that this was something he cared a great deal about, and, even though Angus understands that the 70s were different, that there was far more stigma about babies born out of wedlock, his fury at the situation arrives almost on the same breath.

"I feel very strongly that a child has a right to know who his father is. I don't think a selfish woman has a right to have a baby as her own plaything. I think there are massive indications there for somebody's identity in adult life. We weren't given the opportunity, for what I believe to be very selfish reasons." He has since discovered who his own father is, though he has no intention of contacting him; apparently, after all the publicity, someone has turned up claiming to be Raoul's. "I think it's a crying shame he's only turned up now Raoul's dead. It's a bit late in the day."

On Nature vs Nurture, I'm a more-or-less rather than either/or type, as in so many other things. In Steven Pinker's the Blank Slate, he posits a rough guide to how your kids will turn out, given 3 approximately* equal factors - with (I think) upbringing being the least of the three - depressing information for well-meaning daddy :

a) natural inheritance (genes)
b) upbringing
c) post-adolescence peer group

If the third be true, it may be that yet another Sixties liberal myth (albeit one still being pumped out by our educators) is exploded - although there is a difference between childhood and adolescence, maybe being kept away from the rough boys then makes you less likely to hang with them later. Many times I've listened to or read of some successful figure describing his childhood and taking an affectionate but condescending pop at parents who wouldn't let them hang out with the rough boys down the road. Maybe that parental decision is why they're on Desert Island Discs.

When the academic Moat brother was doing politics at Nottingham, the other had discovered the society of the gym and its steroid subculture.

I don't think Raoul's background (more here) fits by any means the classic underclass scenario. But, as study after study shows, fatherless children, even after controlling for the lower income of single parents, do worse on pretty much every measure of human achievement.

As A.H. Halsey puts it in his foreword to "Families Without Fatherhood":

“The children of parents who do not follow the traditional norm (i.e. taking on personal, active and long-term responsibility for the social upbringing of the children they generate) are thereby disadvantaged in many major aspects of their chances of living a successful life. On the evidence available such children tend to die earlier, to have more mental illness, to do less well at school, to exist at a lower level of nutrition, comfort and conviviality, to suffer more unemployment, to be more prone to deviance and crime, and finally to repeat the cycle of unstable parenting from which they themselves have suffered.”

There's nothing we can do about it, though. As Sunny so perceptively pointed out a month or so back, people who have children and don't get married wouldn't be any more likely to stay together if they DID marry each other. His conclusion is that people who don't marry are just the kind of people with low commitment to the relationship, who are more likely to split (aka desert the kids), married or not !

* I think those three factors stand provided the upbringing is not 'extreme' - in which bets may be off. Obviously an infancy or childhood of torture or abuse will have a hefty effect - as will, say, being brought up in a closed religious community, or selected for the Janissaries (in both these instances your peer-group gets chosen for you as well, securing two out of three factors).